Unlike most American cities, which spent the 20th century radiating out into suburbia, Los Angeles befuddles outsiders because it doesn’t really have a definite center. The phrase “LA” is loosely used to refer to a collection of small yet distinct cities across the Los Angeles basin that grew together over time. Traditionally, a handful of these localities have been the cultural centers and tourist destinations (Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Silverlake, etc). While these districts thrived, “downtown” sat largely neglected; its financial towers and retail spaces had severe occupancy issues for much of the 90’s and 2000’s. Ten years ago, downtown street life outside of working hours was virtually nonexistent.
That fate was largely the result of poor urban planning. The tragic destruction of the vibrant Bunker Hill residential neighborhood in the 1960’s created a series of vacant freeway-flanked “superblocks” intended for ugly, efficient modernist towers - many of which never reached fruition. To this day, the area is still plagued with empty lots. Developers and architects have considered downtown as a risky return on investment ever since.
DTLA wasn’t just the butt end of jokes (Family Guy: “There’s nothing to do downtown!”) it was treated with disdain. Even Frank Gehry said on record that he wished the Walt Disney Concert Hall had been constructed 12 miles away in Westwood (near UCLA). He went on to add that he felt the current attempted revitalization of downtown was: “both anachronistic and premature.” Ouch.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has announced that John Lautner's famous LA residence, the James Goldstein House - often referred to as the Sheats Goldstein Residence - has been promised to the museum by its current owner James Goldstein. The gift includes the house itself, a James Turrell skyspace which is located on the property, and architectural models of the home (as well as a number of artworks and Goldstein's 1961 Rolls Royce for good measure). The house will be the museum's first architectural acquisition, following similar acquisitions of Modernist homes by other museums such as Crystal Bridges Museum's recently-opened Bachmann-Wilson House by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The SAH Los Angeles Seminar bridges the Society's efforts in historic conservation to the contemporary built environment and the local public and professional community. The LA Seminar will critically look at SurveyLA, a five-million dollar, city-wide study of historic resources sponsored by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the City of Los Angeles. As described online, “SurveyLA – the Los Angeles Historic Resources Survey – is Los Angeles' first-ever comprehensive program to identify significant historic resources throughout our city. The survey marks a coming-of-age for Los Angeles' historic preservation movement, and will serve as a centerpiece for the City's first truly comprehensive preservation program."
Finding Form is a co-show art event showcasing the works of Jeff Morrical, Jeff Guiducci & Carmelia Chiang, all working as architects in Los Angeles.
Morrical's work, The Folded Ocean, incorporates single sheet sculptures shaped by folds and gravity. Guiducci & Chiang's work, Tangential Mode, demonstrates the many possibilities of extraordinary form through the use of a most ordinary material - PVC piping.
The opening reception took place on Jan 23, 2016 and will be open to the public through Feb 13, 2016 at Design Matters Gallery in West Los Angeles. (11527 W. Pico Blvd).
The Los Angeles Conservancy is now accepting applications for their 2016 Preservation Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement in the field of historic preservation in Los Angeles County. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, January 29, 2016.
An independent jury of experts in architecture, historic preservation, and community development will select the award recipients. Submissions that illustrate the value and power of preservation are encouraged from across Los Angeles County.
Projects honored in the past have varied widely, from sensitive restoration, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse projects, to groundbreaking advocacy and education efforts undertaken by individuals or groups.
A river is not usually the province of an architect. Cities grow around rivers, and buildings are built near rivers, but rarely is the river itself the subject of a design problem. Ever since news broke that Frank Gehry is leading a master plan effort for the Los Angeles River, there has been a marked increase in discussion of the river, though rarely with much historical background. Joseph Giovannini tries to correct this omission with his recent piece in the Los Angeles Review of Books, laying the groundwork from when the Army Corps of Engineers decided to line the river in concrete in the late 1930s to prevent flooding, and introducing all of the major players who have been working more recently to return the river to a more natural state.
But what truly sets this video apart is how it highlights the many murals spread throughout the city. Often utilizing otherwise blank facades facing parking lots and alleys, these murals are nonetheless an integral part of LA’s urban fabric, as illustrated in this video. Sadly though, as Wood notes on the video description, there were many more murals that vanished before he was able to get them on video.
It’s a rare event when a public building is striking enough to grab the attention of most Angelenos. It’s even more curious when that building is almost unanimously panned by the critics. Barring the so-called “iconic” buildings that our city has collected over the last 15 years, Los Angeles seldom received exciting public architecture. Because of this, every new major addition gets placed under a cultural microscope. Now, with Kohn Pedersen Fox’s redesign of the Petersen Automotive Museum nearing completion, architecture critics have sharpened their knives: reviewers have called it “kind of hideous,” "the Edsel of architecture," and “the Guy Fieri of buildings.” But these gripes completely miss the point of what a car museum on the Miracle Mile should be.
Four teams have been chosen to move on to the second stage of the Pershing Square Renew competition. Aiming to transform downtown Los Angeles' oldest park, the finalists will now refine their schematic proposals in preparation of a second review in March 2016. The winning scheme will potentially be the five-acre park's sixth iteration, replacing Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta and landscape architect Laurie Olincurrent design that first opened in 1994.
The four teams and their preliminary ideas, include:
Until recently, the only options for providing clients and the public with visualizations of what a prospective building would look like were almost exclusively hand drawn renderings, or scale models built by hand. Both of these practices are still in use today, but now there is a much wider range of options with 3D modeling software providing the bulk of renderings, the growing presence of 3D printing, and even video fly-throughs with special effects that rival the latest Hollywood action movie. This 16mm film created by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in 1984, and digitized by illustrator Peter Little, reminded us of what the early days of digital 3D modeling looked like.
Without a doubt, it’s among the most famous houses in Los Angeles. The house is easy to describe: a steel framed L-plan, divided into bedrooms and the communal living spaces, all wrapped around a turquoise pool seemingly impossibly poised above the city. But words don’t do it justice. Julius Shulman’s 1960 photograph of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House 22, perhaps better known as Stahl House, changed the fantasies of a generation.
http://www.archdaily.com/778021/a-virtual-look-into-pierre-koenigs-case-study-house-number-22-the-stahl-houseMadlaina Kalunder and David Tran, Archilogic
Los Angeles, as we know it today, was made possible by massive infrastructure projects that provide reliable sources of water to the otherwise semi-arid region. The mastermind behind many of these infrastructure projects in the early twentieth century was William Mulholland, the self-taught engineer who rose through the ranks to become the Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Bureau of Water Works and Supply (the precursor to today’s Los Angeles Department of Water and Power). Mulholland is most commonly remembered for the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which piped water to the city from the Owens Valley, over 200 miles away. But Owens Lake was drying up faster than expected, and the aqueduct was threatened by both earthquakes and sabotage from angry landowners and farmers in the Owens Valley who orchestrated dynamite attacks on the waterway, in what became known as the California Water Wars.
Mulholland needed a backup plan, so he turned to building reservoirs, most of which still function to this day. Tom Scott’s video above tells the story of how one of those reservoirs, and the failure of the dam that held it back, shaped the development of Los Angeles itself. When the St. Francis Dam collapsed in 1928 the ensuing rush of water killed at least 450 people (though some estimate the total is closer to 600), destroyed 1,200 homes, forever altered the reputations of Mulholland and the city’s water infrastructure, and ultimately cemented the boundaries of the city and its neighbors.
The recently announcedcompetition to redesign Pershing Square, Los Angeles’ oldest park, will be at least the sixth iteration of the space in the heart of the city’s rapidly changing downtown. Occupying a full city block, what is now Pershing Square (named for the World War I general) was part of the 1781 Spanish land grant to the City of Los Angeles, and was officially dedicated as a park, originally called La Plaza Abaja, in 1866. The current iteration, designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta and landscape architect Laurie Olin, with art installations by Barbara McCarren, opened in 1994. Just over twenty years later, the brightly-colored, geometric stucco structures, and the hardscape-heavy layout have faced extensive criticism–one local website is fond of calling it the city’s “most hated park”–but Legorreta and Olin’s design makes a bold statement for urban public space in Los Angeles, unmatched by any other park in the city.
OMA's first ever building for a religious institution will be constructed with a little help from one of the United States' greatest 20th century artists. In an auction at Sotheby's in New York yesterday, Cy Twombly's 1968 "Untitled (New York City)" - one of the artist's notable "Blackboard Paintings" - sold for $70.5 million, $30 million of which will be donated to LA's Wilshire Boulevard Temple by the painting's owner, Audrey Irmas, to fund the temple's OMA-designed extension.
As reported by the LA Times, the synagogue's new "Audrey Irmas Pavilion" has been designed to be "clearly in dialogue" with the 1929 Byzantine revival temple, and will be used in the celebration of weddings and bar mitzvahs, as well as for meetings, conferences, and gala events by other nonprofit groups. Though the design has not yet been unveiled, the pavilion is currently slated for a 2019 opening.